Thursday, 14 January 2010

Proud parents!

Our last entry we said we would be in touch with some lambing news...well we had our first lamb on Tuesday bang on time! We both had the 12th January in our diaries as our January lambers due date and we couldn't quite believe one of them arrived on time!

We arrived up at the sheds at our usual time of about 6.30am and noticed one of our girls was behaving a bit strangely...suddenly everything we had learnt in our lambing course the week before was making sense. She had isolated herself from the rest of her friends and was busy trying to make a nest for herself in the straw, in between lying down, leaning her head back and licking her lips! We kept a close eye on her whilst we fed the others and after a while we thought we ought to give her a hand. We could see two front feet and a nose but she was making slow progress on her own. We managed to catch her and with a bit of a pull out came her lamb! He was a big lamb, no wonder she was struggling on her own. After a little while we moved her into her own pen so she could 'mother up' with her new baby. We are pleased to say they are both doing really well and we have since moved them into a nursery with the lambs who were born at our Christmas event who are now enormous!

Our next surprise was on Wednesday morning when a pair of twins arrived. This time she did not need any help at all and had them all by herself. We were a little concerned about them as they are on the small side but we are happy to say they are doing really well and suckling well off their Mummy. Today is Thursday and there has been no new arrivals today....yet!

Some of you in the Oxford area may have seen us on the front page of the Oxford Times today, what a surprise! We were thrilled and hope it might encourage people to contact us to buy some delicious lamb, arrange a visit or come along on one of our open lambing weekends (20th & 21st March and 27th & 28th March - keep an eye on our website for details).

Before we go, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank all our friends and neighbours in Little Wittenham, Long Wittenham and Brightwell cum Sotwell (in particular Sue at the Red Lion) for supporting us when the Oxford market was cancelled due to the bad weather.

Thank you for reading and we will keep in touch on the lamb count!

Camilla, Roly, Boris and Meg

Monday, 11 January 2010


"179% . . . not bad" said Bob Blanden. Who's Bob?! Bob came and scanned our girls who are due to lamb in March. It was so exciting, we collected them all into a large pen and then put them up a ramp and through a little trailer where Bob was sat with his ultrasound gadget. Our friends Jenny and Rob came and helped, Jenny herself expecting literally any day now!

In the end, the final stats were -
  • 13 are expecting triplets
  • 149 - twins
  • 37 - singles

. . . and 10 were empty!

The reason we scanned our sheep was so we can now feed them the right amount of food in their last 6 weeks of pregnancy. Sheep are a little different to us, they really do have to eat for their young, especially the closer they get to having their babies. We then spent Sunday sorting them all into their appropriate groups.

All very exciting! Plus our other 50 girls should start lambing tomorrow, yikes!

We also want to thank our farming neighbour Angus Dart who has kindly given us some dairy cow colustrum in preparation for our newborn lambs. Colostrum is the first bit of milk the lamb gets from their Mummy after they are born, it is so important as it full of antibodies and lots of goodies to help them get on their feet and be warm and strong as fast as possible. Sometimes lambs need that little bit extra and colustrum from dairy cows can fill this gap. Our freezer is now full of measured out quantities to defrost should we need to, will keep you posted!

More soon, perhaps with some lambing news!

Roly, Camilla, Boris and Meggy

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Fresh Tracks

We woke this morning to yet another white covering . . . and more frozen water pipes! Everthing was just so beautiful, the trees, the hedges and the fresh animal tracks.

The first job was to bucket water to every water trough and then give all the girls (ewes) in doors fresh hay. Then we jumped in the truck and went and fed all the sheep out doors, finding them in the snow was a challenge.

We then had a call from the organisers of Oxford Market saying tomorrows Farmers Market has been cancelled. This was not great as we'd had six lambs butchered and packed especially. We then sent an email out to all our local friends and neighbours to see if anyone wanted to stock up their freezers! Luckily the orders came flooding in . . . although we still have one fridge full of lamb left.

Brian is all booked up to shear the rest of the ewes on Friday, but he has 1500 of his own sheep to look after and with all the snow his workload has also tripled, so the the best laid plans are in the hands of mother nature . . . which can't be a bad thing after thinking about how beautiful the farm has been today. Just a shame about the frozen pipes!

Bye for now
Roly, Camilla, Boris and Meggy

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Happy New Year!

We have had a busy couple of weeks over Christmas and New Year. We now have all the girls in the sheds with only the four boys (rams) and some of our 7 month old lambs outside braving this freezing weather which still seems to be hanging around! We spent all of Saturday bringing all the girls (ewes) in from outside and they are now all busy eating all the yummy hay we have for them all to keep them fed over winter. It is a nice feeling having them all inside on their cosy straw. No more surprises on the lamb front but some of the girls who are due to lamb in a couple of weeks are looking pretty big! Our last farmers market of 2009 was at Henley on Christmas Eve. We arrived at 7.15am having driven through a lot of snowy countryside and the market was frozen solid with ice. We and all our other market friends set about clearing it so we could start trading, it was hard work! But all with a fun Christmas spirit. We spent two days in Kent with family and our friends John and Julia Sargent very kindly looked after our girls for us while we were away.

New Years Eve was spent vaccinating the girls against abortion risk which was really important to do before we headed over the Wittenham Clumps on the quad bike to the Red Lion in Brightwell cum Sotwell to celebrate New Year! Sue and Bob who run the pub have some of our lamb every week.

The forecast for this week is still very cold, we are so pleased that the majority of the flock are now indoors . . . although the frozen water pipes and troughs are not so fun! Farmers markets start again with Oxford on Thursday (7th) and then we have Brian coming to shear the girls we have brought in on Friday followed by having them scanned to see how many babies they will be having in March, we will let you know!

Thank you for reading and happy 2010

Roly, Camilla, Boris and Meg